"Running From Crazy": The Hemingways' Other Legacy

Running From Crazy Even ostensibly well-adjusted siblings struggle with jealousy and competition. If there's also a propensity for suicide, and you're also the celebrity granddaughters of one of the most famous literary suicides in history, it can be well-nigh unendurable — but it can be endured all the same, and that's the message behind Harlan County U.S.A. director Barbara Kopple's documentary Running From Crazy. The picture follows Mariel Hemingway as she describes how she learned to cope with the emotional troubles that have plagued her family over the generations, particularly the suicides of her grandfather Ernest and her older sister Margaux, whose promising career nosedived after the disastrous release of her first film, 1976's Lipstick. Kopple's doc is interspersed with footage from Margaux's little-seen documentary Hemingway: Winner Take Nothing (shot in the mid-'80s well after her career crashed, but not released until after her 1996 suicide), as Margaux traveled the world trying to learn more about her grandfather's legacy, and to find context for her own anxiety and depression. Those are by far the most interesting parts of Running From Crazy, which sometimes loses momentum when focusing on Mariel's work as a suicide-awareness activist. But the movie is never less than earnest, and hopefully it'll inspire someone with suicidal thoughts to decide to seek help.

 
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